Big game hunt application period opens today

antelope udwr
A band of pronghorn antelope forage. Applications are now being accepted for big game hunts in Utah. Photo courtesy of UDWR

The application period for Utah’s big game hunts is opening soon, so if you’re interested in getting your own locally-harvested deer or elk meat this fall, be sure to take note of the dates.

The application period opens on today, Jan. 30 and runs until 11 p.m. March 5. To be included in the drawing for the big game hunts, you can apply on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website or over the phone by calling the nearest DWR regional office.

The results of the drawing will be released no later than May 29. You’ll be notified by email, but you can also get the drawing results online or by calling 1-800-221-0659.

The big game hunts include the following species:

Bighorn sheep (desert and Rocky Mountain), bison, elk, moose, mountain goat, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.

There will be new hunts this year for bighorn sheep, bison, deer and pronghorn. Additional details about the hunts can be found in the 2020 Big Game Application Guidebook.

In addition to applying for other hunts, if you’d like a chance to hunt all three general deer seasons, you should consider applying for Utah’s Dedicated Hunter program. You can learn more about the program, and how to join it, on the DWR website.

When you’re thinking about hunting in a new area – or going after a species you’ve never hunted before – you likely have a lot of questions. The Utah Hunt Planner, an interactive, online map, gives you in-depth, hunter-focused information about all of Utah’s hunts. Use it when you’re researching hunts you want to apply for or use it after you draw a permit for a particular hunt and learn the best spots to find animals, what the terrain is like in that area, if there’s a lot of public land in the unit and where the best access points are located. DWR biologists keep the Hunt Planner up to date with the details you care about.

If you’re not planning to hunt in 2020, you can still apply for a bonus point or a preference point. Earning a point increases the chance you’ll draw a permit the next time you apply. Your application for a point must be received no later than 11 p.m. March 19. You must have a hunting license or a combination license to apply for a bonus/preference point or a big game hunting permit.

Several changes were made to the hunt drawing process during the Utah Wildlife Board meeting held in December, including increasing the waiting period for a limited-entry buck deer hunt from two years to five years. You can see all the changes, including some changes to the permit surrender process, in the 2020 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook.

For more information about applying for a 2020 Utah big game hunting permit, see the 2020 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook, call 1-800-221-0659 or contact the nearest DWR office.

Jolley is a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesperson.